Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who coached Delhi Capitals to the final of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a fortnight ago, is busy giving throwdowns to Steve Smith as, unlike the Indian team, there is no throwdown specialist within the Australian team.
“That is where we have to help each other. I had been a batting coach 10 years ago, for 2-3 years then, it is a really tough job. Sadly, in these times, we don’t have Graeme Hick with us. In the past, we had Michael di Venuto with the team (both to help batting). It (helping the batsmen) is a big role. I know Ricky Ponting, his arms have fallen off from throwing to Steve Smith over the last 10 days or so,” Australia head coach Justin Langer, who is taking care of the players who had not been to the IPL and are training at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ahead of the all-format series against India, said on Wednesday.
Those returning from IPL, like Smith, David Warner, and Ponting, are lodged at Sydney Olympic Park and training separately.
“I always had a joke with Punter (Ponting) over the last few months, how it is to throw to Steve Smith. Our boys love to hit balls, they only get better. That is part of our job. We have to keep preparing our boys as best as possible and we have to do that, whether it is through throwdown specialists. Time will tell. (But) we have got a pretty good system,” added Langer.
The many moods of Steve Smith☺😁
Pretty excited to watch 'em all this summer 🌞
— Cricket News (@cricketnews_com) November 25, 2020
Unlike the Australian team, the entire Indian team in Sydney is located at one place, the Sydney Olympic Park. They stay in touch with each other during practice. The two Aussie groups will assemble only on the day of the match.
“We are working hard. Warner, Smith, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) are facing (Pat) Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Dan Sams, and Andrew Tye. At the SCG, against (Michael) Starc, Michael Nesser, Sean Abbott are helping the players who are here (not been to IPL). The Australia A bowlers are also keeping their loads up at SCG. The boys will be ready,” said Langer.
The Australia head coach further said that despite their top bowlers having played a bit of cricket in recent times, they are looking to field them in all the Test matches and not thinking of resting them.
“I say that with great respect to others, I hope not (that Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood don’t play and rest) because our bowlers, those three guys if they are fit and healthy and firing, they will play all Tests. That is how it is going to be. About the old saying that it is harder to get out of the team than it is to get into team I said two years back when I got the job. That’s what we want,” Langer said.
“It is great to see competition building in domestic cricket. We are going to hope we are bowling well, they are fit and healthy – we have three first peak bowlers. But who knows (if something happens to them). Through these last 8-9 months of Covid, we have had to be agile and take on challenges. Guys we have brought in now (as back-ups) are (also) good, seasoned cricketers,” he added.
India and Australia will begin the much-anticipated clash with the three-match ODI series starting Friday.
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